Did you know? Today is Thanks, Birth Control Day - a day to show extra love to birth control and share all the reasons why birth control matters to us!
People use birth control for many reasons, whether it’s to prevent unintended pregnancy, regulate periods, help control acne and skin breakouts, and other health reasons. Everyone, no matter their gender, deserves to have access and use the birth control method they want and need.
As a teen, it’s important to be informed about your rights to birth control and the different methods so that you can make the best choices for your health. Let’s get into it!
Birth Control Methods
There are a lot of different birth control options out there and it’s important to choose a method that works best for YOU and your body. Remember: Only internal and external condoms protect against HIV or other STIs, so don’t forget to use a barrier method in addition!
Check out the options below:
- You can start and stop on your own. (No prescription needed)
- You need a prescription to start, but you can stop on your own.
- You need an in-person clinic visit to start and stop.
There are a lot of other ways people try to prevent pregnancy, such as “getting their tubes tied” or charting their period cycle - but these aren’t high on our list for teens. If you’re curious, read on here.
- In California, people of any age - including teens - can get birth control without anyone else’s permission. Remember - you have the right to birth control and to make decisions for your body!
- In California, teens have a right to confidentiality when accessing birth control services. If you’re comfortable, you can talk to your parents or another trusted adult about starting birth control and the different options you can try. If you aren’t ready to talk to them, here’s what you need to know:
- When you go to the clinic or doctor to receive reproductive or sexual health services (like birth control), the doctor or clinician can't tell your parents or guardians. In fact, your doctor is required by law to ask for your consent before releasing any of your information to anyone!
- If you use your parent's or spouse's health insurance to pay for your birth control or clinic visit, you need to take an extra step to keep your information private. If you plan to receive something in the mail regarding your health information, you can send it to another trusted mailing address - like a friend’s house.
What is the Cost?
- If you have health insurance through your parent/guardian or Medi-Cal, your birth control (any method that is right for you) is FREE under California law! There are no age restrictions to get birth control.
If you don’t have health insurance and can’t pay on your own:
- You can get birth control for free through something called FamilyPACT, California's family planning program. FamilyPACT services are confidential, and you can sign up for FamilyPACT at a clinic near you. To find a provider call 800-952-1054 or go to www.familypact.org.
- Medi-Cal is a health care program that offers free health care to people with low-incomes in California—including birth control!
- If you're under 19, Medi-Cal only counts the money you earn for yourself, not what your parents earn. You can also qualify for Medi-Cal coverage if you are under 26 and used to be in foster care.
- Medi-Cal services are confidential. To sign up for Medi-Cal, visit www.medi-cal.ca.gov for more information.
Where can I get birth control?
- You can get birth control at your regular doctor, at a family planning clinic, or at a pharmacy!
- You can find a clinic close to you by using the TeenSource Clinic Finder
- In California, you can now get some types of birth control (like the pill, patch, and ring) prescribed by a pharmacist. Not ALL pharmacies offer this service, but you can find one near you here.
- As long as you have a safe place to keep your birth control supplies, you have the right to get a 12 month supply of birth control at once! Just ask your doctor.
Bonus “Did You Know?” This year, the FDA passed the first ever over-the-counter birth control pill, Opill, that you will be able to buy off the shelves at your local pharmacy or retailer. There are NO age restrictions and you can get it free in California with your insurance card. You will also be able to get birth control methods found on store aisles for free if you show the pharmacy your insurance card. This will be in effect beginning January 1.
How do I make an appointment to get birth control?
- Call your doctor or a clinic and let them know if you are a new patient. Be open with the person on the phone about why you need an appointment. It’s their job to help you make the right type of appointment for you!
- Read TeenSource’s tips for visiting a clinic to know what to expect.
- If you have a busy schedule, you have the right to take time off from school for confidential health care appointments without a parent’s permission. Talk with your school counselor or office person ahead of time to learn how to leave campus on your own.
- You can access care remotely through telehealth! Virtual care is an important option for those who don’t live near a clinic, don’t have reliable transportation, or can’t take time off work or school. Teens can get the same health care they need without going into a clinic, including birth control options counseling and prescriptions and refills. If you are interested in telehealth or other sexual and reproductive health services, contact a clinic near you!